In 20 major cities the murder rate was on average 37 percent higher in June than it was at the end of May, an increase over the same period a year ago was 6 percent.
Much of it has involved incidents of random, angry violence like disputes between strangers that left someone dead, or killings that simply cannot be explained.
Nationally, crime remains at or near a generational low, and experts caution against drawing conclusions from just a few months. President Trump has used the rising homicide numbers to paint Democratic-led cities as out of control and to blame protests against police brutality.
Criminologists dispute the president’s suggestion that the increase is tied to any pullback by the police in response to criticism or defunding efforts. The murder rate was on the rise before the pandemic, and a steep decline in arrests coincided with the start of social distancing. In city after city, crime overall is down, including all types of major crime except murder, aggravated assault and in some places, car theft.
The short fuses may indicate restlessness and anger, as spontaneous, one-on-one beefs have replaced gang feuds as a driver of shootings. In several cases, the gunmen and victims were not otherwise involved in criminal activity. The impact of the coronavirus stay-at-home order on the drug trade. Some dealers lost their regular buyers, so they sold to people they did not know — people who may have been intent on robbing them. The result has been an uptick in drug robberies and shootings.
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